Posts Tagged ‘Gym’

Without competition, there is no progression” – This was a line from August Burns Red song “The First Step” (from their rather awesome album Rescue & Restore). As that line blared through my headphones at the gym and I had to stop my workout for a bit and start taking stock of the line. Without competition, there is no progression. I put the societal, corporate and capitalist ramifications of the line aside and considered it purely from a sports point of view.

Nowadays at the gym, I prefer to workout alone. I used to enjoy working out with a good friend of mine, but since he’s moved to Canada, those workouts are quite difficult. For me working out on my own is a release and I can focus on my own goals and objectives and keep to my tight regimen as opposed to having to wait for a workout partner to finish their set before I get to have a go. After a hard day, all my stress and everything is taken away by the iron. But as my workouts are geared towards hockey, a competitive team sport, how do I progress as a lone wolf at the gym?

In the main, I compete with myself at the gym. I normally suck at math and avoid anything to do with numbers like the plague, but when it comes to working out, my competition is to better what I’ve done the week before, the month before or even the year before. What I also do – and this is going to make me sound like an utter dickwad – is to compete against other hockey players I know that use the gym.

I may not know the players personally, but I know them from having played against them or having watched them play. Now, I’m fully aware that different people work to different programs at different paces and I respect that. I have my areas of focus, where another player has their own. But, by and large, the exercises and lifts that we do are the same. The way I compete (and this is without even them knowing that I’m competing with them), is to check how much they are lifting and make sure that I lift more than they do. I want to make sure that the conditioning work that I’m doing is ahead of what they do, whether they play in the same league, a higher league or lower. For me this level of competition has allowed me to push myself further. If it is a player that I know plays in the same league as I do, it is about sending a message. A message that I will out work you in the gym and I will outwork you on the ice.

Also, there is some sort of glee and I guess a dick headed alpha-male attitude in knowing that you can do deadlifts for more reps with higher weight than a pro player.

But where I’ve perhaps had the competition/progress relationship wrong is in on ice training. Don’t get me wrong, whenever I am out there, I go hard till I have nothing left in the tank, but maybe I don’t pick similar competitions as I do in the gym when in training and perhaps that is what I should start seeking to do. Whether it is to outskate certain players in drills that focus on speed or start keeping score on who has scored more goals in training, me or another randomly selected player.

It’s all well and good to play to my strengths on the ice in trainings and keep bringing high energy and intensity, but what if I ‘competed’ with my team mates in the same sense that I do in the gym with other lifters. Perhaps, I should start looking to bring more of my gym mentality to the ice as well and see whether that works. The only thing that I worry about is whether or not my competitiveness and being a sore-loser will eat away at my overall progress. But I think it is worth a shot. To start pushing myself even more and to achieve some of the goals that I’ve set for myself.

It is also said that satisfaction is the death of progress and in many ways I live by this ethos. However, I think I need to add more to the mix to start making more on ice gains and to evolve myself as a player.

As the last line in ABR’s First step says:

Evolve, or die.

Monkey Nutrition was a relatively unknown commodity to me. I had not heard of the company before and hadn’t seen it on the shelves of the typical supplement stores you might expect to find on the high-street.

About the product:

The product I have been testing is Monkey Nutrition’s Moodulator. It has been designed to calm pre-event, or in our case, pre-game jitters. Usually, in a hockey situation, the pre-game jitters are a good thing and can be used for extra energy and adrenaline on the ice, but there are cases where they can get so bad that the jitters and the anxiety actually hampers your performance.

Moodulator contains natural ingredients, including Chamomile, calcium, vitamins B1, B2 and B6. It comes in a capsule form and it is easily added to your morning supplementation/vitamin intake. I have been taking it in the mornings with our other supplements and our morning water in-take.

Side effects:

I did notice a slight side effect from taking the Moodulator, in that I experienced a very slight case of vertigo for about two days after taking the product, but this soon subsided and it wasn’t something that debilitated or affected day-to-day life.

Other than that, there were no negative side effects from taking the product.


After about a week or so of taking the product, I noticed that our sleeping patterns were getting more pronounced and the quality of sleep was a lot better and deeper, which was a positive sign as rest was in a key role during the test.

Moodulator has been effective in calming nerves both in a semi-professional athlete life as in life at home. The product has been more than beneficial to personal life as well. My mood has been calmer at home and in the office and I have found additional confidence in all aspects of day-to-day life. It has also effectively reduce other anxieties, apart from sports related anxieties.


Overall, I have been positively impressed with the results of the Moodulator. I have been more relaxed at training and on the ice and have not experienced pre-game jitters. Prior to trying Moodulator, during a big game, I was a complete nervous wreck, but after that I was able to exert myself better and not worry about nerves.

The Moodulator has had a positive impact on other aspects as well. As mentioned, sleeping patterns and sleep quality has gotten better and having woken up more energised in the mornings has been a positive. Additionally, the effects have been seen elsewhere. In an office environment the Moodulator has calmed nerves to the point where delivering presentations has not been affected and the confidence in speaking in-front of chief executives has felt natural.

At the gym, I haven’t noticed the Moodulator having much of an impact on weight lifting. This is down to the training programme I was undertaking during the review period. The programme was a maintenance one that also focussed on explosive strength for play-offs.  Also during this time I was rehabbing a sports related injury, so I wasn’t going after big lifts.


Moodulator does an effective job of calming any pre-game nerves. It is, however, recommended that you start using the supplement well before a competition for it to have an effect. I did experience slight vertigo at the start of using the product, but this subsided in a few days. It effectively calmed nerves for big games. Where the Moodulator has a positive impact on your mood as well, I would recommend that you do not use it to treat burgeoning symptoms of depression, if you suffer from those. Additionally the packaging states that you should not use the product if you are on anti-depressants or medication that treats Bipolar disorder.

I would recommend Moodulator to anyone who suffers from pre-event jitters and to those who are about to deliver a presentation or any other work related stressors that cause anxiety. So, if you are a hockey player who struggles with pre-game anxiety, I would recommend you try Moodulator as you will be positively impressed with the results. As long as you start taking it in advance of a game and not start it on a game day. As always, before embarking on any fitness journey and supplementation you are thinking of using, if in doubt, speak to your practitioner.

For more information about Monkey Nutrition and the Moodulator, check out

Past couple of times I’ve been at the gym there’s been a few things that have seriously fucked me off. Firstly, before going any further, let me make sure to iterate that the following doesn’t apply to all gym goers, but to a small minority who can just make the whole experience really, really shit.

1). Laughing at people: I’ve seen this happen to a few guys, mainly those who are overweight. Don’t laugh at someone who is working out. Do you seriously think that the overweight person is likely to come back and continue with their fitness regimen if there’s some snot nosed punk laughing behind their back? No! Similar to those kids who have just started hitting the gym. Do you think they’ll come back if there’s some meat head there laughing at them if they can’t curl more than 5kg?

At least they have taken the effort to go to the gym and improve their overall well being and physique. Just because you’ve developed delts and biceps as big as your head doesn’t give you the right to laugh at someone who is trying to better themselves. Remember how hard you had to work to get your body? Other people are working just as hard to get theirs, so when you come to the gym, leave your clown attitude at home.

2). Leering at girls: similar to the above. Do you think all girls at the gym go there so you can check out their asses? If you want to look at girls asses in yoga pants google it or go on Instagram, place is full of shit like that. Let the girls workout the same as the guys. They don’t care if you’ve got the biggest guns in the gym so don’t try and flex your muscles or show off like a peacock.

3). Attitude: walking around the gym looking like you’ve shit your pants or like you’ve eaten a wasp doesn’t make people think you’re hard or that you’re an UFC all-star. There’s no need to carry that attitude or look at people through the mirror with that kinda look. Just let people work out and worry about your workout. No one there is looking to take you on.

Additionally to that point, if you see someone doing a move you’ve never seen before, don’t just stand there and look at the person like they’re from mars or something. If you’re really that interested in it, ask them about it, I’m sure they won’t mind telling you about it.

4). Taking slefies: OK I admit, I’ve done this a few times and I hate myself for doing it, but taking slefies at the gym is not cool. What’s less cool is if you whip off your shirt to pose in front of the mirror and take pictures. Or even worse, strip off and have your friend take pics for you. Wait till you’re home and then take the pics.

Similarly, don’t use the mirrors to check your hair. You’re not Justin Bieber or a spunk trumpet from one direction who has to have the perfect haircut or otherwise their day is ruined. Just fucking workout and get a sweat going. You’re not in a fashion show.

5). Keep your clothes on: yeah, yeah I can see that you’re benching 150kg, but do keep a shirt on you shit-head.

Speaking of clothes; it’s a gym. Wear comfortable workout clothes, whether its compression or lose stuff. What ever is your thing, but just as above, it’s not a fucking fashion show. You working out in the latest designer gear doesn’t make least bit difference to your performance, if anything you’ve been an idiot for buying some expensive brand shit that will get sweaty and smelly. Quick!

That’s my rant over. As I said, this doesn’t apply to everyone, but there are some right old gym idiots who can ruin the experience for someone else. I genuinely love working out and going to the gym, but sometimes people’s behaviour in these places just puzzles me. It’s almost like going back to school where if you don’t have x,y or z, you Don’t really belong.

So in essence, when you’re at the gym, whether its by yourself or with friends, just work out and let other people do the same without any laughing behind backs, attitude or other shit.

I realise that I haven’t actually updated the blog for a while due to training and everything else taking precedent. I thought that instead of me rabbiting on about what workouts I’ve done and what I’ve been doing in the gym, I’d do a look back to last year and see what lessons I have learned.


I think one of the biggest changes and improvements I’ve made is carrying on from the work I did with my physio Matt Radcliffe last summer. For those that don’t know me that well, I have a ridiculous dip in my back which caused some hip problems as my spine was pressing down on a few nerves. Anyways, the work we did on rehabbing the hip also involved fixing my posture, which now helps me with the work outs and skating. My lifts at the gym are more effective and I am actually working the appropriate muscle groups with the exercises I do, instead of lifting like a duck due to my back. Skating wise the hip problem has eased itself so much in the last 12 months that I have regained my full stride again and I am happy that (for most of last season already) I was able to play pain free from the hip.


The other major improvement has been my stamina, which has been improved by doing more cardio. If you remember, this time last year I was recovering from the twisted ankle I sustained when I ran into a pot hole on the road. So between now and the start of the 2011-2012 season I could not do any cardio or leg work until about a week before the season started. I’ve also done a lot of speed, agility and quickness work (SAQ) this year to diversify the type of exercise in hopes of improving my foot speed. I don’t know if it has worked in terms of pure speed, but my legs actually feel ‘lighter’ when skating.


It’s definitely been a better off season than last year and one with less injury trouble than before. Only the niggling little bits from the car accident bother me on occasion (shoulder and neck), but otherwise I feel fine. I’m due to undergo, yet another, neurological exam to make sure that everything is working all right in the old noggin given the relative short time span between the two concussions (March 2011 and January 2012).


In case you haven’t seen my Facebook and twitter pleas, I have been nominated for a Sher-Wood ambassador programme and I’m in desperate need of some votes. So I was hoping that you could click on the link below (perfectly legit) ‘like’ the page and vote for me. At the time of writing this, I am currently 8th. Your support would be greatly appreciated and thank you to those who have already done it.

Whilst you are there, could you give my teammate Adi Smith a vote as well as to a promising young hockey player, Lucas Marsh a vote too. Those guys exemplify this blogs’ ethos of live, eat and breathe hockey.

This off season/pre season has been different from others that I’ve had, for many reasons. I don’t think that ever during my career my body (and mind) were so beat from the season. The mind pretty much due to the concussion rather than the mental strain from the season.


So for the first time in my life I was faced with a wholly new challenge. My hip was in a pretty bad shape, my head was a total mess and I was tired. Pretty much from finishing the last game of the season I knew that the summer was going to be far from easy, but then again, hockey doesn’t really give you a long summer holiday.


I think I gave myself about a week off from the ice and then started to hit the gym. While it probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do with the ongoing concussion symptoms, I needed to do something. Running made my head feel worse and the doctors said that I was OK to do light weights and go easy. Too bad I have a different idea of going easy to the doctors.


So I was able to train really hard through April and I thought that I had overcome the concussion issues. My body started to feel better and I felt stronger physically, but I was still hitting a wall. I was helping out at one of my wife’s trainings on the ice and I was doing a regular skating drill we did throughout the season. I was probably going at about 60% and I just literally didn’t know what the hell was going on. I went pale, blacked out and almost passed out. From skating at about 60%.


This then lead to heated debates and arguments about what I should and shouldn’t be doing and being a bone head I told everyone to STFU and let me decide what’s best for me. As a compromise I agreed to take a week out of training to give myself some extra time to re-coup.


If you follow me on twitter, or are unlucky to have me as a friend on Facebook, you know what happened to me on my first run after I resumed training. I was about 800meters from the office and I was doing a visualisation and mental exercises while running. I was so focussed that I didn’t see a pothole and I ran into it and twisted my ankle…. BAD! Where the ankle hurt for a few days, I was back at the gym lifting weights and on the bike 3 days after I hurt it. My thinking being, if I focus on exercises where there’s no risk of the ankle buckling or giving way, I’ll be OK.


The other issue I dealt with was the hip, which I mentioned at the start. As soon as the season had finished I entered into a rigorous physio therapy programme with Matthew Radcliffe, who is a the head physio for Southampton FC. Matt did a great job with me and seriously put me through the paces. I don’t think that I’ve ever worked so hard at physio, which I enjoyed as it was actually doing functional stuff that I knew would help and it kept me interested as I felt like I was actually having a workout.


The physio for the hip has worked as the times I’ve been on the ice, I’ve been skating pain free, which has shown me how much fun it can be. I was officially discharged from the hip physio and where I’m happy to know that I’ve been discharged and fit, I still have to do continuous exercises to ensure that the hip doesn’t flare up, that combined with a new pre-activation session.


Additionally, I’ve also been discharged from the ankle physio, which effectively brings to an end a regime of physio therapy that started in April. I think this summer I’ve been in physio for a longer period of time than ever before.


On the other hand though, my gym workouts have gone so well that I am actually feeling really good about the shape I am in and it is a definite step up compared to where I was starting from at the start of last season. Maybe more importantly the off season training has taught me more about mental toughness and discipline than anything else. I feel like the work I’ve put in, both in training and in physiotherapy has made me a stronger person and helped me to examine the game from a entirely new point of view. Despite the off ice training being hard and difficult at times, I have actually had fun doing it and I’m actually smiling at the gym, the same can be said of the times that I have been on the ice. Hockey is definitely fun again, which is something that I’ve missed among all the injuries I suffered with.


As for last season, well it is just that, it’s last season. I will take lessons from it, but for now my eyes are fixed on the 2011-2012 campaign. I think the most important lessons I have learnt this off season are those of patience, hard(er) work and trying out new things. I feel that I’m mentally stronger and I feel that I’ll be able to have fun instead of whitekncuckle the stick. There’s 6 days till we take to the ice as a team again, so I’ll be looking forward to seeing some of the guys I’ve not seen over the summer.


I can’t come up with a better ending to this than what a Finnish hockey journalist Jari Mesikammen (aka Karhuherra on twitter) said in his recent column: Forget about summer, drop the puck already!

It has been a while since I updated anything on the blog, so I thought that a quickie would be in order. Despite still spending time off the ice, I’m feeling really good. My off ice training is going well and I’m getting consistent good workouts in and I find that I am pushing myself to lift more weight, which is encouraging. As I come to complete the first month of the regime, I’m going to start adding more into the workouts and routines. At the start of May, I’ll be adding cardio and plyometric work into the mix. Hopefully it will pay dividends when I’m allowed to get back on the ice and resume full contact training.

I’ve also been doing a lot of physio work and my physio, Matt Radcliffe has been putting me through the paces. He’s definitely one of the better physiotherapists I’ve had the pleasure to work with. It’s been painful but I can feel that it is working so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I will not have to have my hip operated on.

The concussion related problems still bug me though. I still get head-aches and I suffer from concentration problems, which is a bit irritating. Additionally I seem to have memory lapses. Like the other week I successfully tied one bow on a sofa bed and went to do the next and did not know how to do it. I’ve been referred to a neurologist for further exams and hopefully a CT scan. I’m not worried that the scans or exams would reveal anything major, but you know, it’s more for my own peace of mind than anything and I guess to my family’s peace of mind as well.

I’ve also started hammering pucks at the net in our back-yard. The only trouble is that I don’t dare shoot top shelf after a few pucks pinged off the cross bar and ricocheted to our neighbours yard, nearly hitting them as they lay on the lawn tanning.

Needless to say, though it’s only been a month into my off-season training, I’ve been encouraged and I’m hoping I can carry the form throughout the summer.

One of the biggest questions I get asked (relating to the concussion) on Facebook and by friends is that whether the ongoing issues mean that I will be hanging up the skates. The answer is no, I won’t be. Aside from the concussion, I feel great and I think after the few weeks rest and ongoing physio the body is starting to feel good as well. I’ve got an itch to get back out on the ice, which is a good sign and you know what, I enjoy playing so there’s no reason to give it up. As long as I’m having fun with hockey I don’t see a reason why I should consider hanging up the skates.

There’s no denying that this concussion has been worse than any before and recovery has been slow, but it’s another bump in the road that I hope to leave behind soon enough.

P.S. Go Habs Go!